Monday, August 23, 2010

Perpetuating Negative Stereotypes

While I don't claim to be the biggest authority on marriage (or an authority at all), I do believe that I put in a great amount of effort into strengthening my relationship with my wife, spiritually, emotionally, physically, etc. Because of this, it pains me greatly when I attend a simcha that involves marriage (be it an engagement party, an aufruf, a wedding itself, or a sheva berachot), and some fellow takes it upon himself to tell the new couple (or one of them) how things "really" work, and imparts some "sage advice".

What comes out of their mouths are words of cynicism and poor attempts at humor, as they advise the new husband how to act in ways that ensure that he'll never be expected to help in the kitchen, how to respond to his wife with vague and insincere phrases and generally maintain an image of an ineffectual (in domestic terms) husband whose primary concern is satisfying himself.

The new wife gets schooled in tactics that manipulate the husband into doing what she wants, buying her what she wants, and emasculating techniques that show others "who really wears the pants."

What ultimately results is two people acting selfishly and independent of each other, vying for their own personal agendas and what they want out of their marriage instead of the sweet harmonious relationship that the Torah prescribes.

These words of wisdom shared at simchot will not be found in any halachic source or shalom bayit manual; we learn these ideas from the outside world where marriage is viewed with a skewed perspective. Just because the society around us portrays the institution of marriage as something unnatural and self defeating doesn't mean that we should buy into that image.

Our generation cannot afford to view marriage this way; marriage is ideally a life long commitment, and we must always keep in mind that such a commitment warrants constant and consistent effort.

It's time to do away with the cynical overtures, and to make it known that those stereotypes are the exception, not the rule.

1 comment:

Renton said...

It's daunting...

I hasten to say that I'm christian but I love the stories of the Besht.